Virtual Safety Car – Christian Horner calls for FIA investigation after George Russell podium
Christian Horner has demanded the FIA investigate Virtual Safety Car restarts after George Russell secured a podium at the French Grand Prix. The Red Bull boss revealed Perez did not get the correct VSC data in his car, used to tell a driver to slow down or speed up.
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Meanwhile, Russell timed the end of the VSC perfectly to make the pass and grab a podium.
He backed off in the initial phase before speeding up just as the VSC was withdrawn to catch Perez off-guard and sweep around the outside of turn 14.
But, Horner has called for the FIA to “explore” the issue to stop similar incidents happening again.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Horner said: “What was frustrating for him is there was an issue in race control with the safety car, the VSC, because they couldn’t turn it off, so they had to do a reset.
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Lewis Hamilton was second in Sunday’s French Grand Prix, a race that marked the 300th of his F1 career.
After the race, when asked if he was planning to stay around for 100 more F1 races Hamilton gave a comical reaction, with Max Verstappen smirking.
“Just talking with him, he said he wasn’t getting the delta in his car, so he was bang on his delta. George either pre-empted it but was within the delta, or maybe the information to the two cars was different.
“We have to go and explore that. Yeah, it was frustrating, because I think he would have had the pace to hold him off for a double podium.”
Perez claimed the VSC had “interfered with the result” after suggesting Russell could prepare better for the restart. He backed up Horner’s comments, claiming it “shouldn’t be the case” that the VSC could divide the result.
Russell’s overtake helped Mercedes to their first double podium finish of the season.
It’s the Mercedes star’s fourth top-three finish of the campaign and his first since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix back in June.
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After the race, Russell revealed he had purposely slowed and then sped up to catch Perez at the right moment.
He claimed Perez may have been too quick” at the start of the VSC and then had to brake at the time the Mercedes was closing in.
He told Sky Sports F1: “I had to sort of preempt it and it can go both ways.
“I knew I had one opportunity when the VSC was ending and if you can time it right and you carry the momentum, you can just carry that through after the VSC.
“I think he may have been a little bit too quick and had to brake. So he’s braking, I’m accelerating and that gave me an opportunity.”